In Calgary last week, without any fanfare, Shaw Cable launched the Shaw Gateway made by Arris which offers Shaw digital cable customers a Whole Home High Definition Personal Video Recording (HD PVR) solution.

At the heart of the system is the Gateway, a digital set top box type device which connects to the cable coming into your home and acts as a server or central hub to the rest of the system.

Inside the Gateway is all the processing power, hardware necessary to deliver and store high definition video signals plus a phone terminal for digital phone service, a DOCSIS 3 modem for internet service and a battery backup. Inside the Gateway is 500GB of storage and Shaw's says you'll be able to add external hard drives to the system for an additional six terabytes of storage.

Once installed, the gateway then connects and communicates to one or more diskless set top boxes, called portals, using the cable wiring in your home. The portal connects to your television in the same manner that existing cable set top boxes connect to your television and you'll need one for each television in your home.

Shaw says the Gateway can connect up to 6 TV's and can support a total of 9 High definition (HD) video streams at one time. For example, you could watch live TV on one TV, record 5 HD shows and playback 3 additional shows all at one time. Or you can record 6 HD shows and playback 3 shows at the same time.

The Shaw Gateway launched in Calgary on May 3rd. The Gateway and one portal device sells for $598 with additional portals costing $178 each. The equipment will go on sale in Edmonton in June, Vancouver in July and a National launch is set for August.

Customers with existing cable set top boxes and HD PVR's will be relieved to know that you'll still be able to use your existing equipment even if you decide to order your own Gateway device. The older equipment won't connect with the Gateway but will work independently.

Discuss the new Shaw Gateway in Digital Home's Shaw Cable HD Tuner and HD PVR forum.
Gateway Summary
  • Storage Capacity and Comparison: 500GB internal hard drive expandable to 6.5TB
  • Content Sharing with other devices: Yes - Summer 2011
  • Number of TV's that can be connected - 6
  • Max Number of Simultaneous Recordings - 6HD
  • Playbacks that can be watched Simultaneously - 4HD + 2SD
  • Can a program be rewound if the channel is changed and changed back again - YES
  • In Home Internet Speeds - Up to 100mbps
  • In-Home Internet speeds affected by TV use - NO
  • Will Legacy SD,HD,HDPVR boxes still work in my home - YES
  • Remote PVR Scheduling - Slated for Fall/Winter 2011
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio: YES
  • Dolby Digital 5.1: YES
  • 3D ready: YES
  • Maximum boxes per house: 1 Gateway and 6 Portals
  • Arcade Video Games: YES
  • Watch TV while surfing the guide: YES
  • Parental Controls: YES
  • Installation Charge: NO - Free on all boxes
  • Ethernet connections inactive at this time
  • Backlit streamlined remote control